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2021-11 10
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Zero Emission Vehicle Pledges Made at COP26

Date:2021-11

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UK COP Presidency announcements relating to sustainable transport List of announcements, 10 November As one of the Glasgow Breakthroughs at the World Leader Summit, 30 countries have agreed to work together to make zero emission vehicles the new normal by making them accessible, affordable, and sustainable in all regions by 2030 or sooner. A number of emerging markets are agreeing to accelerate the transition to ZEVs in their markets (including India, Rwanda, Kenya) Launch of a new World Bank trust fund that will mobilise $200 million over the next 10 years to decarbonise road transport in emerging markets and developing economies. This goal is guiding the Zero Emission Vehicle Transition Council (ZEVTC), which will today met with distinguished representatives, including experts on the transition in Emerging Markets and Developing Economies (EMDEs), to discuss how international collaboration can support a global transition. The ZEVTC will launch its first annual Action Plan, which sets out areas for sustained international cooperation to accelerate the transition during 2022. The US has today joined the UK as a co-chair of the ZEVTC. Nineteen governments have also stated their intent to support the establishment of ‘green shipping corridors’ – zero-emission shipping routes between two ports. This will involve deploying zero-emission vessel technologies and putting alternative fuel and charging infrastructure in place in ports to allow for zero emission shipping on key routes across the globe. The UK has pledged to shift to clean trucks by committing to end the sale of most new diesel trucks between 2035 and 2040. Banner image: A team organized by Polish Minister and President of COP24, Michał Kurtyka, arrived at COP26 today, after having driven 10,000 km from Poland in two electric cars and visiting 11 countries on the way. The team is raising awareness for the need for a rapid tranition to e-mobility, crucial to acheive the climate goals of the Paris Agreement. They were were welcomed by Ina Paranova, Director of Communications and Engagement at UN Climate Change. Source:UN Author:UN Date:November 10, 2021

2021-11 06
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Nations and Businesses Commit to Create Sustainable Agriculture and Land Use

Date:2021-11

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Press release issued on behalf of the UK COP26 Presidency 45 governments pledge urgent action and investment to protect nature and shift to more sustainable ways of farming   95 high profile companies from a range of sectors commit to being ‘Nature Positive’, agreeing to work towards halting and reversing the decline of nature by 2030   Today marks end of week one of COP26, with negotiations gathering pace Governments and businesses are joining farmers and local communities today at COP26, securing new agreements to protect nature and accelerate the shift to sustainable agriculture and land use practices by making them more attractive, accessible and affordable than unsustainable alternatives. Alongside the events marking Nature and Land Use Day, today marks the end of week one of COP26, with negotiations gathering pace and work focussing on week two. Twenty-six nations set out new commitments to change their agricultural policies to become more sustainable and less polluting, and to invest in the science needed for sustainable agriculture and for protecting food supplies against climate change, laid out in two ‘Action Agendas’. All continents were represented, with countries including India, Colombia, Vietnam, Germany, Ghana, and Australia. Examples of national commitments aligned with this agenda include: Brazil’s plan to scale its ABC+ low carbon farming programme to 72m hectares, saving 1 billion tonnes of emissions by 2030 Germany’s plans to lower emissions from land use by 25m tonnes by 2030 The UK’s aim to engage 75% of farmers in low carbon practices by 2030 The UK also announced funding of £500m to support the implementation of the Forest, Agriculture and Commodity Trade (FACT) Roadmap that was launched during the World Leaders Summit earlier this week, in which 28 countries are working together to protect forests while promoting development and trade. A further £65 million will support a  ‘Just Rural Transition’ to help developing countries shift policies and practices to more sustainable agriculture and food production. Commitments made by countries today will help to implement the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use which is now endorsed by 134 countries covering 91% of the world’s forests. The Declaration aims to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030. COP26 President, Alok Sharma said: “If we are to limit global warming and keep the goal of 1.5C alive, then the world needs to use land sustainably and put protection and restoration of nature at the heart of all we do. The commitments being made today show that nature and land use is being recognised as essential to meeting the Paris Agreement goals, and will contribute to addressing the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. Meanwhile, as we look ahead to negotiations in week two of COP, I urge all parties to come to the table with the constructive compromises and ambitions needed.” The World Bank will commit to spending $25 billion in climate finance annually to 2025 through its Climate Action Plan, including a focus on agriculture and food systems.  In a show of similar commitment from the private sector, almost 100 high-profile companies from a range of sectors committed to becoming ‘Nature Positive’. Commitments include supermarkets pledging to cut their environmental impact across climate and nature-loss and fashion brands guaranteeing the traceability of their materials. Representatives from Indigenous and local communities will be participating in events throughout nature day.  As stewards of 80% of the world’s remaining biodiversity, Indigenous Peoples are leaders in how to develop nature-based, resilient and effective solutions to climate change. Nature day also follows the announcement on Ocean Action Day on 5 November of over ten new countries signing up to the ‘30by30’ target to protect 30% of the world’s ocean by 2030.  These were: Bahrain, Jamaica, St Lucia, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, India, Qatar, Samoa, Tonga, Gambia and Georgia. The target is now supported by over 100 countries. Source:UN Author:UN Date:November 6, 2021

2021-11 02
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World Leaders Kick Start Accelerated Climate Action at COP26

Date:2021-11

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Credit: World leaders meeting Press release issued on behalf of the UK COP26 Presidency and the COP25 and COP26 High-Level Climate Champions Commitments at COP today focus on real action to limit rising temperatures Collaboration on green innovation, landmark deforestation commitments, historic methane pledge on the agenda Day three of COP26 answers yesterday’s calls for urgency with tangible action World leaders are in the UK for day three of COP26 where a wide range of announcements focused on signalling a clear shift from ambition to immediate action. Countries have made unprecedented commitments to protect forests, reduce methane emissions and accelerate green technology. Amid powerful pleas heard in Glasgow yesterday, world leaders, young people and campaigners all stressed the urgency of taking tangible action to keep the prospect of holding back global temperature rises to 1.5C and building resilience to climate impacts. 114 leaders took a landmark step forward at a convening of world leaders on forests by committing to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030. The pledge is backed by $12bn in public and $7.2bn in private funding. Countries from Canada to Russia to Brazil - which also increased its NDC yesterday - China, Colombia, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo all endorsed the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forest and Land Use. Together, they support  85% of the world’s forests, an area of over 13 million square miles which absorbs around one third of global CO2 released from burning fossil fuels each year. This announcement was bolstered with a commitment by CEOs from more than 30 financial institutions with over $8.7 trillion of global assets – including Aviva, Schroders and Axa – committing to eliminate investment in activities linked to deforestation.    Today is also the first time a COP in recent history has hosted a major event on methane, with 103 countries, including 15 major emitters including Brazil, Nigeria and Canada, signing up to the Global Methane Pledge. This historic commitment, led by the US and EU alongside the UK COP26 presidency, equates to up to 40% of global methane emissions and 60% of global GDP. More than 35 world leaders have also backed and signed up to the new Glasgow Breakthrough Agenda that will see countries and businesses work together to dramatically scale and speed up the development and deployment of clean technologies and drive down costs this decade. Signatories include the US, India, EU, developing economies and some of those most vulnerable to climate change – collectively representing more than 50% of the world’s economy and every region. The aim is to make clean technologies the most affordable, accessible and attractive choice for all globally in the most polluting sectors by 2030, particularly supporting the developing world to access the innovation and tools needed for a just transition to net zero. Work will focus on five key sectors – power, road transport, hydrogen, steel and agriculture – which together represent more than half of total global emissions and further demonstrates how countries are moving from commitments to tangible action. Leaders signed up to the Glasgow Breakthroughs also committed to discussing global progress every year in each sector starting in 2022 – supported by annual reports led by the International Energy Agency in collaboration with International Renewable Energy Agency and UN High Level Champions – and annual discussions of Ministers across government convened around the Mission Innovation and Clean Energy Ministerials. This ‘Global Checkpoint Process’ will seek to sustain and continually strengthen international cooperation across the agenda throughout this decade. Leaders from South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Germany and the European Union have announced a ground-breaking partnership to support South Africa with an Accelerated Just Energy Transition. As a first step, the international partnership has announced that $8.5billion can be made available over the next 3-5 years to support South Africa - the world’s most carbon-intensive electricity producer - to achieve the most ambitious target within South Africa’s upgraded and ambitious Nationally Determined Contribution. Alongside these strong signals from leaders, negotiators continued their crucial work on the systems and rules that underpin delivery. Early drafts of negotiating texts have been tabled on many issues and experts are working to find common ground, energised by the clear political direction from leaders. COP26 President, Alok Sharma said: “Forests are one of our best defences against catastrophic climate change, and essential to keeping 1.5C alive. This historic commitment will help end the devastating effects of deforestation and support the developing countries and indigenous communities who are the guardians of so much of the world’s forests. “The Glasgow Breakthroughs will help move us towards a global tipping point, where the clean, green technologies we need to reach net zero and keep 1.5C alive are more affordable, accessible and attractive for all than the polluting practices we are leaving behind. “Today's launch of the Global Methane Pledge is also critical to keeping 1.5C alive. I am proud that COP has played host to a historic pledge which will play a vital role in limiting up to 0.2 degrees of warming across the next decade.” High-Level Climate Champions for COP25 and COP26, Gonzalo Munoz and Nigel Topping, said: than 18 sectors of the global economy have already achieved critical momentum, with key private sector actors mobilizing behind the breakthroughs necessary to achieve a net-zero world in time. Now, with more than 35 world leaders signing up to the Breakthrough Agenda, governments across the world will help dramatically scale and speed up the race to zero emissions and deliver the promise of the Paris Agreement. This is what the future of COP is all about - catalysing an innovative ambition loop between political leadership and the dynamism of the private sector to drive towards a resilient, prosperous zero carbon future." Also at COP today, world leaders, CEOs and philanthropists are expected to launch a series of new initiatives in support of the Glasgow Breakthroughs, including: The launch of the UK-India led Green Grids Initiative – One Sun One World One Grid, endorsed by over 80 countries, to mobilise political will, finance and technical assistance needed to interconnect continents, countries and communities to the very best renewable sources of power globally to ensure no one is left without access to clean energy. The Rockefeller Foundation, alongside IKEA Foundation and Bezos Earth Fund, launched the Global Energy Alliance for People & Planet with an initial $10 billion of funding from philanthropies and development banks to support energy access and the clean energy transition in the Global South, in strategic partnership with the UK-led Energy Transition Council. AIM4C, a new initiative led by the US and UAE, with over 30 supporting countries, committed to accelerating innovation in sustainable agriculture, having already garnered $4 billion in increased investment in climate-smart agriculture and food systems innovation, including $1bn from the US. The Breakthrough Energy Catalyst, headed by Bill Gates, programme aiming to raise $3bn in concessional capital to catalyse up to $30bn of investments in bring down clean technology costs and create markets for green products for green hydrogen, Direct Air Capture, long-duration energy storage and sustainable aviation fuel including £200m of UK support. The First Movers Coalition, a US-led buyers club of 25 major global companies making purchasing commitments to help commercialise key emerging clean technologies across hard-to-decabonise sectors like steel, trucking, shipping, aviation, aluminium, concrete, chemicals, and direct air capture Two days into COP26, progress is already being made. Yesterday saw India, Thailand, Nepal, Nigeria and Vietnam make new net zero pledges which now means that 90% of the global economy is covered by net zero commitments. India’s announcement also included a suite of ambitious 2030 commitments, including  500GW non fossil fuel power capacity, 50% energy requirements from renewable sources and 45% reduction of the carbon intensity of the economy. We’ve heard new NDC announcements from: Argentina, Brazil, Guyana, India, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique and Thailand and new Long-Term Strategies announced or submitted by Jamaica, Kazakhstan and the USA. On climate finance, we’ve seen new commitments from: Italy, Spain, Australia and Luxembourg. Source:UN Author:UN Date:November 2, 2021

2021-11 01
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UN Secretary-General: COP26 Must Keep 1.5 Degrees Celsius Goal Alive

Date:2021-11

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UN Secretary General at COP26 World Leaders Summit Credit: UNFCCC See statement by UN Secretary-General António Guterres at COP26 World Leaders Summit below: Dear Prime Minister Boris Johnson, I want to thank you and COP President Alok Sharma for your hospitality, leadership, and tireless efforts in the preparation of this COP. Your Royal Highnesses, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, The six years since the Paris Climate Agreement have been the six hottest years on record.  Our addiction to fossil fuels is pushing humanity to the brink. We face a stark choice:  Either we stop it — or it stops us.  It’s time to say: enough.  Enough of brutalizing biodiversity. Enough of killing ourselves with carbon. Enough of treating nature like a toilet. Enough of burning and drilling and mining our way deeper. We are digging our own graves.  Our planet is changing before our eyes — from the ocean depths to mountain tops; from melting glaciers to relentless extreme weather events. Sea-level rise is double the rate it was 30 years ago. Oceans are hotter than ever — and getting warmer faster.  Parts of the Amazon Rainforest now emit more carbon than they absorb. Recent climate action announcements might give the impression that we are on track to turn things around. This is an illusion.  The last published report on Nationally Determined Contributions showed that they would still condemn the world to a calamitous 2.7 degree increase.    And even if the recent pledges were clear and credible — and there are serious questions about some of them — we are still careening towards climate catastrophe. Even in the best-case scenario, temperatures will rise well above two degrees. So, as we open this much anticipated climate conference, we are still heading for climate disaster.   Young people know it. Every country sees it. Small Island Developing States — and other vulnerable ones — live it. For them, failure is not an option. Failure is a death sentence. Excellencies, We face a moment of truth. We are fast approaching tipping points that will trigger escalating feedback loops of global heating. But investing in the net zero, climate resilient economy will create feedback loops of its own — virtuous circles of sustainable growth, jobs and opportunity.  We have progress to build upon.  A number of countries have made credible commitments to net-zero emissions by mid-century. Many have pulled the plug on international financing of coal. Over 700 cities are leading the way to carbon neutrality. The private sector is waking up.  The Net-Zero Asset Owners Alliance — the gold standard for credible commitments and transparent targets — is managing $10 trillion in assets and catalyzing change across industries. The climate action army — led by young people — is unstoppable. They are larger.  They are louder. And, I assure you, they are not going away. I stand with them. Excellencies,  The science is clear.  We know what to do. First, we must keep the goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius alive. This requires greater ambition on mitigation and immediate concrete action to reduce global emissions by 45 per cent by 2030. G20 countries have a particular responsibility as they represent around 80 per cent of emissions. According to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities in light of national circumstances, developed countries must lead the effort. But emerging economies, too, must go the extra mile, as their contribution is essential for the effective reduction of emissions. We need maximum ambition – from all countries on all fronts – to make Glasgow a success. I urge developed countries and emerging economies to build coalitions to create the financial and technological conditions to accelerate the decarbonization of the economy as well as the phase out of coal. These coalitions are meant to support the large emitters that face more difficulties in the transition from grey to green for them to be able to do it. Let’s have no illusions: if commitments fall short by the end of this COP, countries must revisit their national climate plans and policies. Not every five years.  Every year. Every moment. Until keeping to 1.5 degrees is assured. Until subsidies to fossil fuels end. Until there is a price on carbon. And until coal is phased out. But we also need greater clarity.  There is a deficit of credibility and a surplus of confusion over emissions reductions and net zero targets, with different meanings and different metrics. That is why – beyond the mechanisms already established in the Paris Agreement – I am announcing today that I will establish a Group of Experts to propose clear standards to measure and analyze net zero commitments from non-state actors. Second, we must do more to protect vulnerable communities from the clear and present dangers of climate change. Over the last decade, nearly 4 billion people suffered climate-related disasters. That devastation will only grow. But Adaptation works. Early warning systems save lives. Climate-smart agriculture and infrastructure save jobs.   All donors must allocate half their climate finance to adaptation. And public and multilateral development banks should start as soon as possible. Third, this COP must be a moment of solidarity. The $100 billion a year climate finance commitment in support of developing countries must become a $100 billion climate finance reality. This is critical to restoring trust and credibility. I welcome the efforts led by Canada and Germany to help get us there. It is an important first step — but it delays the largest support for years, and it doesn't give clear guarantees. But beyond the $100 billion, developing countries need far greater resources to fight COVID-19, build resilience and pursue sustainable development. Those suffering the most – namely, Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States – need urgent funding. More public climate finance.  More overseas development aid.  More grants.  Easier access to funding.   And multilateral development banks must work much more seriously at mobilizing greater investment through blended and private finance. Excellencies, The sirens are sounding.  Our planet is talking to us and telling us something. And so are people everywhere. Climate action tops the list of people’s concerns, across countries, age and gender. We must listen — and we must act — and we must choose wisely. On behalf of this and future generations, I urge you: Choose ambition. Choose solidarity. Choose to safeguard our future and save humanity. And I thank you. Source:UN Author:UN Date:November 1, 2021

2021-10 26
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Updated Climate Commitments Ahead of COP26 Summit Fall Far Short, but Net-Zero Pledges Provide Hope

Date:2021-10

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Credit: Rawfilm/Unsplash Latest UNEP Emissions Gap Report finds new and updated Nationally Determined Contributions only take 7.5% off predicted 2030 emissions, while 55% is needed to meet the 1.5°C Paris goal Latest climate promises for 2030 put the world on track for a temperature rise this century of at least 2.7°C Net-zero commitments could shave off another 0.5°C, if these pledges were made robust and if 2030 promises were made consistent with the net-zero commitments Nairobi, 26 October 2021 – New and updated climate commitments fall far short of what is needed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, leaving the world on track for a global temperature rise of at least 2.7°C this century, according to the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) latest Emissions Gap Report 2021:The Heat Is On. The report, now in its 12th year, finds that countries’ updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) – and other commitments made for 2030 but not yet submitted in an updated NDC – only take an additional 7.5 per cent off predicted annual greenhouse gas emissions in 2030, compared to the previous round of commitments. Reductions of 30 per cent are needed to stay on the least-cost pathway for 2°C and 55 per cent for 1.5°C. Released ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), the latest round of climate talks taking place in Glasgow, the report finds that net-zero pledges could make a big difference. If fully implemented, these pledges could bring the predicted global temperature rise to 2.2°C, providing hope that further action could still head off the most-catastrophic impacts of climate change. However, net-zero pledges are still vague, incomplete in many cases, and inconsistent with most 2030 NDCs. “Climate change is no longer a future problem. It is a now problem,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP. “To stand a chance of limiting global warming to 1.5°C, we have eight years to almost halve greenhouse gas emissions: eight years to make the plans, put in place the policies, implement them and ultimately deliver the cuts. The clock is ticking loudly.” As of 30 September 2021, 120 countries, representing just over half of global greenhouse gas emissions, had communicated new or updated NDCs. In addition, three G20 members have announced other new mitigation pledges for 2030. To have any chance of limiting global warming to 1.5°C, the world has eight years to take an additional 28 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent (GtCO2e) off annual emissions, over and above what is promised in the updated NDCs and other 2030 commitments. To put this number into perspective, carbon dioxide emissions alone are expected to reach 33 gigatonnes in 2021. When all other greenhouse gases are taken into account, annual emissions are close to 60 GtCO2e. So, to have a chance of reaching the 1.5°C target, we need to almost halve greenhouse gas emissions. For the 2°C target, the additional need is lower: a drop in annual emissions of 13 GtCO2e by 2030. Zeroing in on net-zero Net-zero pledges – and their effective execution – could make a big difference, the authors find, but current plans are vague and not reflected in NDCs. A total of 49 countries plus the EU have pledged a net-zero target. This covers over half of global domestic greenhouse gas emissions, over half of GDP and a third of the global population. Eleven targets are enshrined in law, covering 12 per cent of global emissions. If made robust and implemented fully, net-zero targets could shave an extra 0.5°C off global warming, bringing the predicted temperature rise down to 2.2°C. However, many of the national climate plans delay action until after 2030, raising doubts over whether net-zero pledges can be delivered. Twelve G20 members have pledged a net-zero target, but they are still highly ambiguous. Action also needs to be frontloaded to make it in line with 2030 goals. “The world has to wake up to the imminent peril we face as a species,” Andersen added. “Nations need to put in place the policies to meet their new commitments, and start implementing them within months. They need to make their net-zero pledges more concrete, ensuring these commitments are included in NDCs, and action brought forward. They then need to get the policies in place to back this raised ambition and, again, start implementing them urgently. “It is also essential to deliver financial and technological support to developing nations – so that they can both adapt to the impacts of climate change already here and set out on a low-emissions growth path.” The potential of methane and market mechanisms Every year, the Emissions Gap Report looks at the potential of specific sectors. This year, it focuses on methane and market mechanisms. Reduction of methane emissions from the fossil fuel, waste and agriculture sectors can contribute to closing the emissions gap and reduce warming in the short term. Methane emissions are the second largest contributor to global warming. The gas has a global warming potential over 80 times that of carbon dioxide over a 20-year horizon; it also has a shorter lifetime in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide – only twelve years, compared to up to hundreds for CO2 – so cuts to methane will limit temperature increase faster than cuts to carbon dioxide. Available no- or low-cost technical measures alone could reduce anthropogenic methane emissions by around 20 per cent per year. Implementation of all measures, along with broader structural and behavioural measures, could reduce anthropogenic methane emissions by approximately 45 per cent. Carbon markets, meanwhile, have the potential to reduce costs and thereby encourage more ambitious reduction pledges, but only if rules are clearly defined, are designed to ensure that transactions reflect actual reductions in emissions, and are supported by arrangements to track progress and provide transparency. Revenues earned through these markets could fund mitigation and adaptation solutions domestically and in vulnerable nations where the burdens of climate change are greatest. COVID-19 recovery opportunity largely missed Finally, the report finds that the opportunity to use COVID-19 fiscal rescue and recovery spending to stimulate the economy while backing climate action has been missed in most countries. The COVID-19 pandemic led to a drop in global CO2 emissions of 5.4 per cent in 2020. However, CO2 and non-CO2 emissions in 2021 are expected to rise again to a level only slightly lower than the record high in 2019. Only around 20 per cent of total recovery investments up to May 2021 are likely to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Of this spending, almost 90 per cent is accounted for by six G20 members and one permanent guest. Source:UN Author:UN Date:October 26, 2021